Fukushima fund also tasked with decommissioning

Kyodo

The Diet enacted a revised law Wednesday that will give a state-backed fund dealing with compensation issues related to the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant disaster the added task of working to decommission the plant.

The revamped entity could be launched this summer, in a move that is expected to boost government involvement in scrapping the reactors that suffered a triple meltdown, and tackling the buildup of highly radioactive water at the crippled plant.

The Nuclear Damage Liability and Facilitation Fund, set up after the nuclear crisis struck in 2011, has been providing financial assistance to plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. to cover trillions of yen in compensation payments to people and companies affected by the disaster.

Under the revised law, a panel of experts and a division in charge of decommissioning issues will be set up within the fund to organize research projects and give instructions to Tepco.

If the utility is found not to have enough funds or workers to deal with the issues, the economy minister can issue an order to take appropriate measures.

Tepco will be able to outsource some of the plant’s decommissioning work to the fund, which will also be tasked with responding to future nuclear accidents that may occur in the country.